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Most companies these days have some form of social media presence, including those in the Early Years sector. But is "everybody else is on social media sites" really a good enough reason to spend your time on it?
With so many websites to help parents find an Early Years setting, do you need to be on facebook, twitter, or any other social media sites as well? I spoke to Ben Rolfe, the CEO of Childcare Marketing, to find out where we might be going wrong with constant social media posting over good quality paid promotion.
Childcare Marketing recently surveyed 2399 nursery owners regarding social media, and the results were as follows:
Ben advises that paid social media ads for your setting might cost you £2-3 pounds per enquiry, but to put this into perspective, organic posting could cost you up to £60-70 per enquiry you receive.
This is because of the amount of time you have to take and the volume of posts you have to create to see a result. And, unless you have an external team of marketers to do the job, this will be time your team has to take out of their usual role.
“If you’re trying to use organic social media to increase your enquiries, think really hard about how well that’s working for you, in terms of the time you’re putting in,” advises Ben, “And, if you’re just using SoMe to communicate with your current parents, consider if there is a more efficient way to do this.”
So organic posting isn't the most effective way to get enquiries coming in, but is it worth having a social media presence in the Early Years? You might, for example, use social media platforms:
Once you know clearly what you're trying to achieve, you can evaluate how successful your social media platforms are at meeting those goals.
Next, it's time to turn those wishes for your social media into goals that are more clearly defined, so you can look at how to measure success. If we take the examples above, it might look like this:
Goal: For social networking with other nurseries and professionals
Success looks like: Achieve 5 new connections with other settings we'd like to collaborate with per month.
Goal: To stay connected with communities, parents, and families
Success looks like: At least 10 of our parents or carers comment on each of our posts.
Goal: To share content about early education
Success looks like: Post at least once a week about an Early Years topic, that generates engagement (e.g. 10 likes and 4 comments).
Goal: To create interest and promote our nursery
Success looks like: We receive 3 new enquiries per week that came solely from out social media accounts.
It's really important to measure how much time (and therefore money) you're spending on your social media, in order to analyse if you're getting a good return on that investment. Ben recommends setting a timer when you start working on your social media accounts and keeping track of the time spent.
Depending on the salary of the person who runs your social media accounts, it might be relatively inexpensive to make a quick post once a week. However, if you're a director and you're posting every day, your time might be significantly more expensive, so take this into account when costing your social media spend - time costs money too.
If you do want your setting to have a profile on social media sites, here are Ben's top tips for how to get the most out of your organic (unpaid) posts:
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.